To my way of thinking, working with layers implies the ability to precisely mask areas or subjects and apply effects based on the selections or masks.
This is exactly what makes the Luminar 4 layers practically useless. The implementation of the masks/selections is similar to using a paintbrush app vs something like Photoshop.
In Luminar, you only have the fixed brush and gradient tools for the masking. There is no option of something like an edge/tonal detection auto-mask (as in LR) or the perfect brush in ON1 Photo Raw 2020.
This means that you cannot really do clean masking or selection of any subject. Since you cannot make a clean mask, the whole purpose of layers is defeated.
Although there is a luminosity mask in Luminar 4, the same issue makes it practically useless. There is no control over the luminosity mask as in LR (which is not great) or ON1 (which is far better than LR).
While Luminar 4 remains a choice over LR and ON1 for noise reduction and the AI-based image enhancement features, the layers can be ignored almost completely.
The only place you can use layers is when you have shots where you can apply one of the blending modes in Luminar 4 and achieve the effect you want. Other than that, forget layers in Luminar till they have better masking tools.
This is just a followup after the previous video where Luminar could not detect the sky when it was very obvious in the image. Even the “trick” I tried did not work within Luminar.
This is just one of the bugs and nuances of Luminar 4. If I export the same file as a raster (JPG, TIF etc) it works, but, you cannot process the image as you would a raw file.
Interestingly, if you export from Lightroom as a DNG raw file, even though the image looks exactly the same as the one Luminar 4 could not replace the sky on, it does so on the DNG file. There are, perhaps, issues that go deeper than just this…
If you ignore the DAM (Digital Asset Management) part, it is probably the simplest to use to create dramatic enhancements in just a few clicks. Of course, it is not without the bugs and nuances that most such applications would almost always have, but, it is quite stable and works as advertised.
It has automatic, AI-based, enhancements which are not matched by any other such application currently. The support for layers is far better implemented than ON1 Photo Raw which insists on creating a new file for layers.
Birders would love this for BIFs and more…
Luminar 4 can really make dramatic changes and make images really pop without any high-end editing skills. I would recommend this for all class of users. I use this along with Lightroom. LR manages my image collection and Luminar gives me dramatic images in a snap like no other application can.
Let’s dive in and see what Luminar 4 can do…
These are all my shots from the rooftop during the lockdown. Let’s see how we can transform some of these…
Overall, birders would love Luminar and beginners would have a ball 🙂
Would I use Luminar? Absolutely yes for some of the features that really help in making better images in a hurry.